The funnies were never for kids

While comic books were still deemed to be low-grade children’s fodder in the early 60s, the newspaper strips were generally accepted as also or even predominantly aimed at adults. I can’t see another reason for running a half-page ad in Life magazine for the new Ford Falcon Futura (“the compact cousin of the Thunderbird”), with a bespoke Peanuts cartoon as its lead?

This ad also shows that not all Mad Men era advertising was revolutionary, as underneath the hip and happening cartoon, it’s got some of the worst long copy I’ve ever seen.

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Le Chat at IJOCA

In case you are interested, I wrote a short “think piece” on the “affair” concerning Belgian cartoonist Philippe Geluck and his Le Chat museum, for the International Journal of Comic Art blog. It will also be reprinted in the next issue of the paper journal, which will be my first contribution to an actual academic journal.

(Thanks, Mike and John, for the opportunity, and Nick for the pointers)

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The Guradian is 020 years old!

The Guardian, the UK’s (and the world’s) record of conscience, celebrates its 200th anniversary, and who could better encapsulate its stance, values and very peculiar relationship with its readers (and non-readers) than long-time contributor Posy Simmonds? She even included Guardian founder CP Scott

(Thanks for the tip, Paul!)

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Who read comics?

Reading comics wasn’t always a sign of a well-balanced education and a keen sense for quality. Back in the sixties, it particularly showed you somehow never really grew up (or something). Which elevates mr. John Steed, esq. even higher in my standards, as this screenshot will attest, from the rather amusing mix of (real) Avengers fragments, Someone has stolen Big Ben.  Of course, Tintin has always been a sign of bon chic bon genre

(Someone has stolen this from Facebook)

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Pogo in the pit!

I registered my appointment for my Covid vaccination today, and to celebrate, here’s a happy song with some friends from the funnybooks. And a real Pogo doing the pogo!

(thanks to Sean; Title courtesy the one and only Marc W.)

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The goddamn Batman ties the room together.

At one point in our not so distant past, comics fandom was enough of a monolithic affair that it was not out of place to promote a Batman rug (“As featured in the upcoming Batman movie”, and “based on Frank Miller’s Dark Knight”) in an underground (or at least alternative) magazine like Heartbreak Hotel. It even has an endorsement from Jonathan Ross.

In these days of comics in the mainstream, and at the same time an abundance of microniches, I don’t see things like this happening very soon.

(thanks to Scandy)

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The More Things Change

Over on Reddit, Derek A Edwards dropped this little sci-fi story about being careful what you wish for, and about how karma does not work if you don’t learn (which is ironic, as it is Reddit).

Bonus points for all redditors who provide solid feedback — sometimes the internet of the 90s still exists…

(artwork by Derek A. Edwards)

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Hold it, Jim!

“How are we going to reach these disenfranchised youngsters who could have an exciting career in electronics?”

“I know, we’ll put an ad in one of those comic books that they seem to like so much, and we’ll put a super-hero in it”.

“That’s a good idea. And we’ll add a coupon that they can cut out and send back. It’s not like they’re going to want to keep those rags, is it?”

From Skull The Slayer #1 (Marvel), 1975, which also carried the gems below. Incidentally, the ads in comic books were quite a thing to get my head around when I first started reading American comics. They totally broke the rhythm of the story, and often I thought they were either part of it, or were title pages to new stories.

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An endeavour of gargantuan proportions, on a set of small cards

So you have comic books, a storytelling medium that, through a series of well-established techniques, tries to simulate temporal and spatial, and (if at all possible) narrative, progression on a piece of paper, quite often involving adult men beating each other up. And then there’s comic book movies, films based on the former that, thanks to the medium, can dispense with the simulating of temporal and spacial progression (they simply show the movement), but still can only hope they achieve something of a narrative.

And then there are artists like New Zealand’s Trương DP who recreates scenes from those movies by drawing each frame, in pencil, on a piece of cardboard. Their most recent feat involves the key scene between Iron Man and Thanos from Avengers: End Game, rendered in 1400 drawings, created over a period of 736 hours. The sheer audacity of that achievement is only equaled by the way the creative process is documented.

On the DP Art Drawing channel on YouTube, more flipbooks can be admired featuring the Hulk and Black Panther, as well as other art projects that are to be seen to be believed.

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The future of the New Yorker cover is safe

In addition to being an amazingly cool visual artist, cartoonist and designer (and having an equally talented brother), Tomer Hanuka also teaches at the New York School of Visual Arts. As befits a good teacher, he gives his students assignments that requires them to use what they know, apply their creativity while taking into account the limitations of the purpose of the work. In this case, they were to create cover suggestions for post-Covid issues of the New Yorker magazine.

The results are phenomenal. They cover a spectrum from the liberating feeling of being able to breathe again, to the crushing emptiness that those we lost leave behind. Here are some names we’ll hear about pretty soon, I think.

(top illustration by Huahua Cui, with thanks to Lotta, our finely tuned antenna for Twitter goodness)

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